will lin wei zhe is our indie hero. he has single-handedly brought chinese indie pop to commercial acceptance. from the early cheer chen, faith yang to sodagreen now, will lin has shown many the miracles of crossing indie pop with mainstream pop.
we aspire to start an indie label in malaysia emulating will lin's success!
despite the small crowd, despite it being the cheng meng weekend, roger and winnie put up a stellar show last weekend at the cd rama music fair at 1-utama last weekend!
what pleases us more than anything else is the increasingly strong chemistry between roger and winnie. every unspoken glance is understood; every gesture is mutual.... the two performances were tight and musical, what a fantastic team! while it is true to say that roger is getting very good with mandarin pop, winnie has also improved somewhat...the whole combination is now very formiddable.
we could feel that those who turned up were impressed too, including the cd rama staff and my aunt and my uncle!
winnie ho proved to us that she could handle the show even without regine tai; what a stylish performance she delivered! the missing "V" has been identified and is going to be introduced soon. her name is sheena lim. you shall read more about her in this blog in the coming months.
i am a lucky fella. music has given me so much enrichment, nourishment and inspiration since i was a kid. i was already buying audio cassettes since i was a primary 4 student.
many people live their lives without any memorable high points. i have several - it is all music-related - and the highest high is gonna happen soon, as early as next year.
my first "high" is starting musicexchange in 1998, the first ever full-scale 2nd hand cd store in malaysia. in fact, the idea was born one night while i was listening to cheer chen's amazing debut album "let me think a while", which was rated at number #11 in the recent taiwan's top 200 albums of the last 20 years. musicexchange left a memorable chapter in the music industry in malaysia as well as an indelible mark on my life. in fact, i was so high that my favorite song at that time was lighthouse family's "high", which i constantly spinned in my store.
my 2nd "high" came last year with the creation of 2v1g. well, i won't dwell into this again as i have said enough in this blog.
my 3rd "high" which is about to come true is my long-time desire to create a world-class chinese indie music label with a world-class chinese female singer-songwriter a la cheer chen qi zhen and zhang xuan of taiwan. i want to do original compositions of indie pop/rock, away from the mainstream.
i had someone in mind 10 years ago. at that time, she was still a little girl but she showed enough talent to entice me. i met her in the cafe where she performed and passed her my name card but she didn't call me. subsequently, she was signed to a major label and pursue her singing career in taiwan.
10 years later, 3 months ago to be exact, i got to know her thru a friend in a x'mas dinner. she told me she likes my work in 2v1g and she is thinking of collaborating with me to start an indie label in malaysia. i couldn't believe my ears.
she passed me her demo cd last night which is full of all her compositions over the last 2 years. i played the cd on my system, i was awe-struck. "this is the music that i want to do for my label!", i yelled. her music is indie pop/rock but with a very strong hook and commercial crossover appeal. we connect instantly.
i have been listening non-stop to her cd for the last 24 hours. many times, i was moved to tears. such talent is god-send. and she isn't even peaking as i could see the depth of her talents.
everything has a reason. god delayed our fateful meeting because she wasn't ready 10 years ago. she is now.
god willing, you are going to see the first local indie queen in the chinese music industry early next year that's going to carry the malaysian flag globally, and this is gonna be my third "high" and probably my highest high.
to date, 5 singers of different backgrounds came for the audition for the missing voice in 2v1g.
all the 5 ladies can sing pretty well but generally they are still raw and lacking of personality, but there are two rough diamonds within the lot that we see great potential and we are inviting them back for more auditions.
one of the shortlisted candidate is YT. this young lady has a big voice and a nice tone. she impressed us with her dynamic range and versatility. whether she could blend with winnie ho is yet to be seen and heard but this young gal has great potential if properly groomed.
what musictoxin looks for is not only an unique voice but a positive attitude towards music. as we are not doing commercial pop, the candidate must be mature and be able to handle the whole showbiz.
you can sample YT's demos below, and perhaps, give us some feedback.
[sorry for the poor photograhy... i was experimenting something]
it is ultra difficult to get the two members of jz8 together due to their hectic schedule. so whenever we find time, we get them to practise and get the chemistry going.
song selection contributes more than 60% to the success of an album and we are not taking it lightly. jz8 can play many styles, but we would want it to sound a bit mellower than what most western jazz music would sound. in particular, we want cher siang not to over-play on the piano, which is the tendency of most western jazz pianists to showcase their skills and versatility. because this is chinese pop jazz, we would want a slower and mellower presentation to suit our targeted audience.
jz8 practised a few songs, all chinese pop classics re-arranged by cher siang (whose titles we would like to keep it confidential at the moment); some immediately strike a chord with me and chow and some not. as i have said many times before, not all chinese pop tunes can be rearranged into jazz, due to their rigid structure. cher siang tried on zhao chuan [赵传: 当初应该爱你], the results are contrived to say the least, so we immediately dropped it.
at the end of the practice session, we finalized on two songs only.
lydia also proposed to include some real oldies (think 40s/50s, think zhou xuan!) in the repertoire, which chow and i approved. some chinese oldies are real winners if the singer can carry it well and the arrangement is good.
the first practice session gives the production team some ideas on how far jz8 can go. we think the real jz8 hasn't come out yet but in time to come, with more practice and understanding, we would see something magical.
the next practice session is fixed on next monday, 16th march.
as a producer, the practice sessions and the recording sessions later are the best and most memorable part of the journey!
the first ever music magazine published by an indie label is out!
MTX promotes music which is neglected by the mainstream music, that include jazz, bossa, audiophile and indie chinese pop. MTX hopes to cater to the discerning music lovers who are still buying CDs even in the age of illegal downloads and rampant piracy.
check it out at your nearest record store...... be it victoria music, rock corner or cd rama......
you may want to know there is a contest to win 3 tickets to Kota Kinabalu to watch the jazz festival in june!
you can also download from here (look at the right panel) but most readers i spoke to prefer the hard copies.
enjoy your reading and please give us your feedback!
p/s please email me if you have problem getting a copy.